A lot was made last year about how the White Sox starting pitchers wore down in the second half of 2005 because of their extended work load when they won the World Series in 2004. Three Tigers starters (Justin Verlander, Nate Robertson and Jeremy Bonderman) all set career high innings pitched totals last and that was just in the regular season. Tack on three more starts in the post season and you wonder if the rotations struggles are because the guys are beginning to wear out now. Anyway, Justin Verlander has been our best pitcher of late, but he’s hardly been lights out. It was his fifth straight start in which he gave up more hits then innings pitched (the radio likes to keep using this stat) and outside of an August 11 win in Oakland, you have to go all the way back to June 23 to find a start in which Verlander gave up just two runs or less.
Since that June 23rd start, Verlander’s ERA has gone up by over a run and it’s now close to touching 4.00. This was after a beatdown last night, although to his credit, the bullpen once again didn’t do him any favors. He left with two runners on and Zach Miner gave up a three run shot to allow those two guys to score. Still that just turned in a bad box score line into a worse one and Verlander now sits at 13-5.
The Tigers offense didn’t have much of a problem though. Carlos Guillen belted a three run homer and Magglio Ordonez went two for four with a homerun (his 24th), two RBIs and two runs. Ordonez still leads in the American League batting race with a .352 batting average with Ichiro right behind him at .349. Cameron Maybin also pitched in with two doubles and a run while Marcus Thames went yard with a two run shot for his fourteenth long ball of the season.
With the loss, the Tigers are back to a game and a half out. The rubber game is supposed to be this afternoon but it’s raining as I write this and it’s supposed to be worse in the afternoon so we’ll see if they get the game in. Nate Robertson will be on the mound and he’ll go up against Jake Westbrook.